Thanksgiving is all about that feast. I mean, we don’t call it “Turkey-Day” for nothing. But, what’s a wine lover to do on a day such as Thanksgiving? How on earth can one enjoy a wine paired with tastes so drastically different? What pairs with turkey, potatoes with gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie?
Fear not, the answer is easier than you might think. You don’t enjoy a wine, you enjoy a few. Of course, we aren’t suggesting you drink several bottles of wine on your own (although, we’ve all had those holidays). But, if you’re enjoying the traditional Thanksgiving fare, then you’ve made enough food for a football team and they’ll need something to wash it all down.
We suggest setting each place at the adult table with at two or three different wine glasses, and then opening a variety of bottles. You can let people choose their own flavor combinations without forcing them to eat their meal one dish at a time. Plus, this takes away the pressure of choosing a wine that will make everyone happy. Anyone hosting Thanksgiving dinner could probably use a little less stress. You could even suggest that everyone bring their own Thanksgiving favorite and open them all. A toast to turkey!
Even if you’ve decided to let guests choose their own wine adventures, you should be prepared to give your opinions on pairings. No need to stress, we’ve done all the (turkey) legwork for you. We’ve got wine pairings for Thanksgiving dinner from turkey to pie, and everything in between.
Is your Grandma known for the driest turkey this side of the Mississippi? No worries, we’ve got a wine for that. Try a Chenin Blanc like Dry Creek or Dom Pichot Vouvray. A dry wine with just a hint of sweetness to finish, this wine is the perfect metaphor for your dinner. Plus, the lemony and apple undertones will accentuate the flavors of the turkey. Or at least what’s left of them.
When it comes to turkey, you can’t go wrong with a white wine classic like a Riesling. We suggest a bottle of Eroica from Chateau Ste Michelle. It’s a 93 point wine (Wine & Spirits), which is a great start. It has a sharp acidity while being beautifully balanced with fruitiness. This one might just take you all the way through T-Day.
Although you might not think of a Rioja right away for Thanksgiving, it’s definitely a contender. You might think that because of the complexities in its flavors it would be too much to pair with Thanksgiving. But, thanks to its acidic bite, it’s really good at accentuating any subtle spiciness in sides like stuffing. Especially if that stuffing includes sausage. We recommend Marques De Riscal Rioja Reserva.
A nice Rioja Reserva also pairs beautifully with richer poultry dishes, like duck or goose. Rioja Reserva is the perfect compliment to your annual Turducken (turkey, stuffed with duck, stuffed with chicken).
To offset the buttery, creamy, goodness mounded on your plate, you’re going to need a nice dry white wine. We suggest Charles Ninot Blanc de Blancs. It’s easy going, well received, and a perfect compliment for your mashed potatoes.
We’ve got a couple choices for this sweet beast. Whether you douse it in butter, brown sugar, or marshmallows, a sweet potato is always rich, sweet, and ready to eat. You’ll either need a wine to match it’s deep, rich flavors, or bitter biting wine to battle the beast.
If you’re into all the rich, full flavors of Thanksgiving, then amp up your sweet potatoes with a bold and fruity bottle of Earthquake Zinfandel. It hits you with level 5 fruitiness to start, and finishes off with a tremor of spice. Exactly what you need to shake down that sweet potato mountain on your plate.
The high acidity in a Riesling makes it a good choice to pair with sweet potatoes. We suggest choosing a sweeter Riesling to really compliment the flavors in this sweet side. Blue Fish Sweet Riesling is a really good choice; not just for sweet potatoes, but for Thanksgiving in general. It’s sweet (but not too sweet), easy to drink, and has a soft, clean finish. It’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser, potatoes or not.
Nothing compliments the earthiness of a good vegetable like a mineral-rich wine. If you’re looking for something a little less conventional than a Riesling or Chardonnay, we suggest an Albarino or a Vermentino. Both have classic, crisp, white wine flavors, without the predictability of a Riesling or Chardonnay.
For the Vermentino, go with Argiolas Costamolina. It’s exotic enough to make an old standby like green bean casserole seem fresh and new. But, with a classic taste suited for any Thanksgiving feast.
As far as the Albarino, we recommend Paco & Lola Albarino. It’s light, fresh, and full of that minerally goodness your beans are craving. It has a crisp and lively aftertaste, perfect for complimenting greens. Plus, it won’t weigh you down. There’s a lot of food and wine to get through!
You might be wondering where the Pinot is on this list of wonderful Thanksgiving wines. Well, never fear, it has arrived. We were waiting for just the right side pairing to bust out this Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir. It’s sweet strawberry and raspberry aromas blend perfectly with a robust cranberry sauce. This Pinot’s subtle anise and clover undertones help tie the dish to the rest of the meal beautifully.
Finally, time for dessert! When it comes to pairing with pumpkin, you want to steer towards a late harvest wine made from white grapes. Something like a Riesling, Gewurztraminer or a Chenin Blanc. Since we’ve covered two out of those three already, we’ll recommend a Gewurztraminer. Columbia Crest Gewurztraminer is a lively white wine with just a hint of sugar on the back end. It’s crisp and floral with a strong finish. The perfect end to a heavy meal.
A THANKSGIVING TO REMEMBER
This year you and your guests will be giving thanks for such tasteful pairings and flavor combinations. Don’t forget to give each guest more than one wine glass, so they can pair as they go. Who knows, they might even find a whole new combination. It could become a Thanksgiving staple for years to come! You can find all of the wines mentioned above available with free delivery on Saucey. This year, let us handle the drinks, you’ve got enough on your plate.